Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS) Guide, 2016

Concepts used by the Registered Apprenticeship Information System (RAIS)

Designated trades

Apprenticeship training and trade qualifications in Canada are governed by the provincial and territorial jurisdictions. These jurisdictions determine the trades, for which, apprenticeship training is made available as well as the trades, for which, certificates are granted. These are referred to as designated trades. The jurisdictions also determine which of the designated trades require certification in order to work unsupervised in the trade. The list of designated trades varies considerably between the jurisdictions. Data from the Registered Apprenticeship Information System includes only those trades that are designated in at least one province or territory.

Registered apprentices are persons who are in a supervised work training program in a designated trade within their provincial or territorial jurisdiction. The apprentice must be registered with the appropriate governing body (usually a Ministry of Education or Labour or a trade specific industry governing body) in order to complete the training.

Trade Qualifiers or Trade Challengers are persons who have worked in a specific trade for an extended period of time, without necessarily having ever been an apprentice, and who have received certification from a jurisdiction.  This is usually done via a skills assessment examination in the trade.


"Total Registrations" in apprenticeship programs is the count of any registrations that occurred during the reporting period (from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016) within the 13 jurisdictions.

Total registrations = Already registered + New registrations + Reinstatements

  • Already registered - the number of registrations carried forward from the previous year
  • New registrations – new entrants to any apprenticeship program that occurred during the 12 month reporting period
  • Reinstatements - registrations by people who had left an apprenticeship program in a specific trade in a previous year and had returned to the same apprenticeship program during the reporting period

Red Seal and non-Red Seal Programs

The Red Seal Program sets common standards to assess the skills of tradespersons across Canada in specific trades, referred to as the “Red Seal” trades. Tradespersons who meet the Red Seal standards, through examination, receive a Red Seal endorsement on their provincial/territorial trade certificates.

Non-Red Seal trades do not have interprovincial standards. Many non-Red Seal trades do not have an examination requirement in order to work in the trade.


The requirements for granting a certificate varies by jurisdiction in Canada. In most instances, an apprentice is issued a certificate if he or she completes such requirements as supervised on-the-job training, technical training as well as passing one or more examinations. Most trade qualifiers, meanwhile, become certified once they pass an examination.

Certification terminology

There are jurisdictional differences in the names of certificates awarded. They may include:

Certificate of Apprenticeship
Diploma of Qualification
Certificate of Qualification
Journeyperson’s Certificate

Certificat d’aptitude
Certificat de compagnon
Certificat de compétence
Diplôme d’apprentissage

Federal, provincial and territorial changes pertinent to the interpretation of RAIS data

1 Starting in 2003, a change occurred in the reporting of Newfoundland and Labrador's information concerning newly registered apprentices and cancellations/suspensions.

2 Changes in Prince Edward Island's information system, starting with the reporting of 2005, may affect historical comparisons. Prince Edward Island made some adjustments and revisions, at the end of 2006, to their database which accounts for the change in the carry-over of registered apprentices at the beginning of 2007. In 2007, an increase in new registrations is to some extent related to a demand for skilled workers outside of the province. In 2008, technical issues with the Prince Edward Island's information system and reporting of data since the redesign of the Registered Apprenticeship Information System survey caused a number of apprentices not to be reported.

3 Revisions have been made to the Quebec 1991 to 2005 data, which also change the previous Canada totals.

4 As of 2008, the portion of total Quebec trade information coming from Emploi-Quebec is no longer being provided in aggregated form. The data from the province of Quebec includes all trades with the exception of the automotive sector.

5 In Ontario, differences may occur in the carry-over totals of active apprentices from 2006 to 2007. This is a result of the preparation and conversion of client data to Ontario's new relational database system in late 2006 and in the process a clean-up of inactive clients occurred and adjusted the active total of registered apprentices and their carry-over into 2007.

6 Minor trade code revisions, in 2006, to Manitoba.

7 For 2008, Alberta incorrectly included the Industrial warehousing trade with the Partsperson and Partsperson (material) trades and also excluded the Construction craft worker trade. A distinct feature of the Rig technician trade is that individuals may be registered as apprentices in the trade, however their certificates are granted as trade qualifiers (challengers).

8 Revisions have been made to the British Columbia 2005 data, which also change the previous Canada totals for 2005.

9 Prior to 1999, Nunavut was part of the Northwest Territories.

10 In 2008, Alberta reported a large number of discontinued apprentices, which was a result of them implementing a series of cancellations and suspensions of inactive apprentices.

11 New Quebec legislation introduced in 2008 and 2009, relating to Emploi-Quebec sector trades, have resulted in sme changes in the reporting of registered apprenticeship registrations.

12 An adjustment has been made to the Joiner trade in British Columbia, to include the trade in the Interior finishing major trade group, rather than in the previous Carpenters major trade group.

13 The Emploi-Québec 2010 data includes revised trade programs where some of the trades have been segmented into several levels. The segmenting of trade programs into levels creates a situation for possible multiple registrations and completions by a single individual apprentice, where previously only one registration and completion existed for this individual.

14 The Electronics technician (Consumer Products) trade was de-designated as a Red Seal trade in 2011.

15 The Gasfitter - Class A and Gasfitter - Class B trades were designated as Red Seal trades in 2012.

16 Changes in provincial regulations governing drinking water related trades currently reported by Emploi-Québec, have resulted in program changes, as well as the transferring of responsibility of some of these trades to the Conseil de la construction du Québec.

17 Since 2013, Ontario’s data is received from two organizations. The registration data continues to be reported by the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills Development (MASED). They are also responsible for issuing Certificates of Apprenticeships upon the completion of technical training and on-the-job hours. The Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) is responsible for reporting data on Certificates of Qualifications, which are issued to apprentices upon the completion of a certification exam. This administrative practice has affected the RAIS data in a number of different ways.

  1. On April 8, 2013, MASED awarded a Certificate of Apprenticeship to approximately 6,000 apprentices who had completed their technical training and on-the-job hours, and had not yet received a Certificate of Qualification.
  2. There are discrepancies in the number of apprentices in Ontario due to differences in how MASED and OCOT define an apprentice. OCOT considers apprentices to be their members, for whom they have received membership applications with payment of annual membership fees. MASED considers apprentices to be individuals for whom they have received signed training agreements. In the MASED registration data, apprentices can have active and inactive statuses, which can also contribute to discrepancies. Inactive apprentices, are apprentices with whom MASED has not received information about their progression in their apprenticeship program for more than a certain period of time. Active and inactive apprentices are included in the RAIS data.  As such, the RAIS data may include previously registered apprentices, who have since discontinued their apprenticeship program, but have not yet informed MASED that they have discontinued their program.
  3. Beginning in 2013, apprentices who discontinued from apprenticeship programs in the past, but who remained on the database as already registered apprentices began to be removed from MASED records. These removals appear in the RAIS data files following 2013, as there are increases in the number of discontinuations from one year to the next at the same time as there are decreases in the number of already registered apprentices in the following reference year.
  4. Apprentices who did not receive their Certificate of Qualification and Certificate of Apprenticeship in the same year were classified as trade qualifiers rather than apprentices for RAIS 2014 and 2015. To align the RAIS data with the standard definition of trade qualifier, these records were reclassified as apprentices with the release of the 2016 RAIS data. This revision led to a decrease of about 2,600 trade qualifiers in Ontario in both 2014 and 2015, in comparison with the previously released data.

18 In 2013, a regulatory change came into effect which affects both Ornamental ironworkers and Structural steel erectors under the jurisdiction of the Conseil de la construction du Québec. Workers in these two trades are now considered to be Ironworkers.  The impact of these changes is also felt in 2014 and 2015.

19 In 2013, changes were made to the Automotive Service Technician trades in British Columbia. Apprentices no longer have to complete mandatory work-based training hours at each program level before progressing to the next level of technical training.  The impact of these changes are also felt in 2014.

20 Certificates in the Steamfitter/Pipefitter trade under the Conseil de la construction du Québec, also include Plumbers.

21 The Heavy Equipment Operator (Dozer), Heavy Equipment Operator (Excavator) and Heavy Equipment Operator (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe) trades were designated as Red Seal trades in 2014.

22 Since 2013, Building/Construction Metalworker has been coded to Metal Workers (other) instead of being included in the ‘Other’ category.

23 Trade qualifiers in trades governed by Emploi-Québec represent certificates granted to individuals who received recognition for previously completed training. Emploi Québec may, for example, recognize training in the case where an individual has a certificate in other provinces, territories, countries, or if the individual received a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) in Quebec. These trade qualifiers also represent certificates granted as part of the regular re-certification process required in certain trades.

24 In March of 2014, there were changes made to the eligibility for the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit in Ontario. This may have affected registration counts in some trades including those for information technology.

25 Prior to 2014, three welder programs (level A, level B, and level C) were offered in British Colombia. Starting in 2014, these three programs began to be phased out and replaced by a single apprenticeship program for welders. This change will impact registrations and certifications in this trade for the years following 2014.

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